We have been having such a warm spring in Philadelphia. So if the weather is going to pretend it is summer, I will as well! To me, summer means tomatoes, corn, pesto, pasta salad, and of course, grilling.
Lipman Tomatoes, a business-to-business company that has been supplying tomatoes and other vegetables to grocery stores and restaurants for 70 years, is about to launch a consumer-focused brand and website. Lipman contacted me about developing a recipe to celebrate their launch, which is the perfect opportunity for me to give into my “summer fever”. I decided to make a Grilled Tomato Orzo Salad served in a Tomato Bowl. (Update: the site is now live! Check out my recipe here!)
Lipman sent me an awesome assortment of their tomatoes. I decided to use the grape tomatoes for grilling, and the Vintage Ripe (a beautiful heirloom tomato) as my tomato bowls. The assortment also came with some cherry tomatoes and plum tomatoes so expect me to be on quite the tomato kick in the coming days!
4 large Vintage Ripe tomatoes
1 cup orzo
4 cups vegetable broth
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 corn on the cob (or 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed)
8 oz mozzarella balls (if you cant get marinated mozzarella balls, even better!)
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
Mint, for garnish
For the pesto:
2 bunches fresh basil leaves (about 2 cups packed)
1/3 cup walnuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
the juice and zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmiginao-Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Begin by cooking your orzo. You can cook the orzo in water in you’d like, I just think cooking it in vegetable broth adds a little bit more flavor. Bring the vegetable broth/water to a boil. Add the orzo and stir. Cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and set aside.
While waiting for the orzo to cook, prepare your pesto. Add the basil leaves and walnuts to a food processor and chop.
Add the minced garlic, lemon, zest, salt and pepper and pulse to combine.
Add the cheese and process. While the food processor is running, add the olive oil in a steady stream. Process until combined.
Add the pesto to the orzo while the orzo is still warm (it makes mixing easier). Set aside.
Toss the halved grape tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Preheat a grill pan over medium heat.
Place grape tomatoes cut side down on the grill.
Grill for 1-2 minutes or until charred.
Remove from grill and allow to cool. Place the corn on the cob on the grill, spraying with cooking spray. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until grill marks appear. Set aside and allow to cool. Remove the kernels using a knife. (If using frozen kernels, allow to thaw. Add to a pot over medium high heat and mix until slightly charred).
Chop your cucumber. I like keeping the skin on, but you can peel your cucumber if you want. Combine with the corn and tomatoes.
Mix the vegetables until the orzo mixture and add the mozzarella. I quartered the mozzarella balls to make them a bit smaller. You can use normal mozzarella and cut it into bite size pieces if you want but marinated mozzarella adds even more flavor to this recipe.
Cover and refrigerate for an hour or overnight. Before serving, rinse the heirloom tomatoes. Cut off the top of each and use a spoon to remove the center and all seeds.
Set on a paper towel, cut side down. When ready to serve, add the orzo mixture to the cut tomatoes. Garnish with additional basil or some mint for an extra pop of flavor.
I am pretty darn excited with how these turned out!
The recipe is nothing terribly inventive, but the presentation really makes the recipe something special.
The pesto, grilled tomatoes, corn, and cucumber together are just phenomenal.
There is actually almost a creamy texture to this with bites of crunchiness from the cucumber and corn.
I loved how fresh this tasted. This recipe is the epitome of summer!